INTO THE BLUE
TWO HUMPBACK WHALES BREACHED FORWARD OF THE BOAT. THEY STAYED ON TOP, PUTTING ON A DISPLAY FOR ABOUT 45 MINUTES.
To me, each morning represents pure optimism. The promise of potential is palpable. That’s how my Independence Day started. Our crew heard reports of an amazing tuna bite not far from our home port on Long Island, New York. We left before first light. ¶ As the boat eased out of the inlet, gray light cracked the eastern horizon. Adrenaline amped up even more as our team traded stories of whose friend caught what fish and where just a day or two earlier. The fish tales raised the crew’s cumulative blood pressure in a positive way. ¶ The sea was like a glass tabletop, and our sport-fisherman’s 30-knot cruise had us offshore in a hurry. We came across a pod of dolphins circling in rapid fashion; it looked like they were corralling bait. Birds dove from on high, and we saw the splashes of prey trying to escape attacks from above and below. The scene looked fishy, so we started trolling. ¶ Nothing. While it was an amazing spectacle of nature, there were no fish. ¶ We moved on toward our original waypoint, again finding acres of dolphins. They swam alongside the boat and in the wake. I just about filled my iPhone’s storage with video. But still, no tuna. ¶ Shortly after we found the dolphins, a couple of finback whales cruised by. Then a sea turtle. Then a mola mola. It was like living in a Nat Geo special. But again, no fish. ¶ We made a run for the canyons about 40 miles from where we had started. It was still early enough that hope remained. When we arrived, we found some bait and some fish marks on the sounder. As we trolled across the 100-fathom line, a family of hammerhead sharks swam past our port side. Then a mako to starboard. Next, about a quarter-mile ahead, we saw the ocean explode with white water. We ran up to the spot, and the Doppler effect on the water was apparent, but our crew never saw whatever had made the impressive display. ¶ We plied the waters for a few more hours before running back to our first stop. Two humpback whales breached just forward of the boat. They stayed on top, putting on a display for about 45 minutes. One of our crew flew a drone overhead to capture their behavior on video. ¶ With daylight fading, we finally got a strike, a tuna. But even if we hadn’t caught a thing, the show the ocean put on that day was simply spectacular. It was the illustration of optimism, the promise of potential realized.